Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

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Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors
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Outside view of Animal Rescue Team building in Solvang

The Executive Director and Co-founder of the Animal Rescue Team (ART) has been arrested over a feud with neighbors in Solvang. 

On Monday, Julia Di Sieno was taken into custody for violating a criminal protective order filed by her neighbors, Mary and Richard Nohr. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office confirmed the violation was linked to firearms DiSieno failed to turn in stemming from a criminal protective that included accusations of stalking and criminal threats. DiSieno was released from custody Tuesday morning and denies the allegations, reports KEYT News.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office released the following statement:

In December, 2017 Julia Di Sieno was formally charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office with the Penal Code Violations of 422 - Criminal Threats & PC 646.9 - Stalking.  As a result, Di Sieno was issued a Criminal Protective Order pursuant to PC 136.2, which was ordered and served on 12-22-2017.

Per the Criminal Protective Order, Di Sieno was ordered to surrender ALL firearms and ammunition which are subject to her immediate possession, within 24 hours after being served with the Criminal Protective Order, deeming her a prohibited person.  Per the Protective Order, Di Sieno had 48 hours to file a receipts to the court showing she surrendered ALL firearm and ammunition belonging to her.

On 2-2-2018, SBSO Patrol Deputies, assigned to the Santa Ynez Valley, responded for a report of Criminal Protective Order violation, allegedly perpetrated by Di Sieno towards the listed “Protected Persons” noted on the Protective Order.  Based on the Deputies investigation, Di Sieno was in fact believed to have violated the Protection Order and the case was ultimately forwarded to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office requesting criminal charges be brought forth against Di Sieno. 

Detectives with the Santa Barbara County Special Investigations Bureau began conducting an investigation. During their investigation, it was learned there were no indications that Di Sieno had surrendered her registered firearms / ammunition which was ordered by the court pursuant to the Criminal Protective Order therefore, a search warrant was sought and granted based on the probable cause that Di Sieno was in violation of the Criminal Protective Order.  

On Monday, 2-5-2018, Detectives with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Bureau conducted the warrant service at Di Sieno's residence, located in the Santa Ynez Valley.  As a result of the warrant service, numerous firearms were located along with a copious amount of ammunition of various calibers throughout Di Sieno’s residence.  

Based on the findings, Di Sieno was found in  violation of California Penal Codes 166.4 - Violation of a Court Order & PC 29825(b) - A Prohibited Person Possessing Firearms in Conjunction of Restraining Order and  PC 22210 - Illegal Possession of Baton / Lead Cane. 

As a result, Di Sieno was arrested based on the aforementioned California Penal Code violations and booked into the Santa Barbara County Main Jail, without incident.

ART is a Santa Barbara County organization that focuses on large mammal rescue but they claim to not turn away birds, raptors, and reptiles. They also rescue fawns and occasionally foster domestic animals until a home is found. According to their website, ART is licensed and permitted by the California Department of Fish and Game to rescue and rehabilitate injured, orphaned and displaced native wildlife. They're located in the 800 block of Carriage Drive in Solvang. 

During the Jesusita Fire, ART states they rescued over 200 wild and domestic animals with numerous fire-related injuries. They're available 24/7 to respond to injured, orphaned, or displaced wild animals and state they work very closely with Santa Barbara County. "Animal Rescue Team is the only animal rescue facility equipped with an animal ambulance on the Central Coast. This allows us to better serve the animals and our community in times of disaster," their website reads.

ART's Facebook Page has been vocal about their issues with their neighbors, posting photos of cease and desist letters from the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development office as far back as April of 2017.

One such letter dated April 6, 2017, read Planning & Development "received a complaint regarding noise and nuisance impacts related to the operation of a wildlife species rehabilitation center" on residential property and that the Public Health Department determined there was evidence of noise nuisance. The center was ordered to cease wildlife rehabilitation activities for 90 days and limit the types and numbers of animals allowed on the property zoned 1-E-1, which means one acre of a single family estate under zoning ordinances.

Another letter dated August 31, 2017, was posted on Facebook by the same Planning and Development Department to clarify and apparently rescind the April 6th letter as the facility removed all adult coyotes from the property. ART commented on the post with, "Thank you to each of you, who stood by our side. Their cameras continue to zoom onto our property!!!! We never closed, we never will!" which appears to be directed at their neighbors.

Edhat has reached out to the Nohr's and Di Sieno for comment. We have not received a response from either party.

According to KEYT, Nohr said DiSieno did not threaten with a "real weapon," but made a machine gun sound with her voice and said something to the effect of, "I'm going to take you down." DiSieno responded saying she has never stalked nor physically threatened the Nohrs and in turn accused them of ongoing harassment and intimidation, which including placing cameras in the direction of her property.

Below is a video from 2015 showing Di Sieno and other ART volunteers releasing two rescued and rehabilitated coyotes back into wild. 

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yin yang Feb 09, 2018 11:02 PM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

I had brief interactions with her in a professional setting. She sees herself as a queen bee. She's haughty, which is quite unpleasant. I can imagine that she does not interact well or compromise. Of course, in the animal field, I had heard about her too. She doesn't see much around her, I guess because her nose is so high up in the air. She is obsessive, which is great for the animals, but not good for running a non-profit. She no longer has the permits she used to.

jbyrd Feb 09, 2018 11:18 AM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

BIGUGLYSTICK...You know nothing of what you speak and are lying just like her. She was NOT there first. The neighbors directly next to her have been there since the early 80's, I've been in the neighborhood since 1970. Lying like that only contributes to Julia's lack of credibility. There is a reason that a judge gave the neighbors a victims protective order, and it's not because THEY are the nasty ones. People see right through the bs, she can't hide behind her blind followers anymore.

biguglystick Feb 08, 2018 09:56 PM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

I personally know Julia, and her heart is 100% in it for the animals. She lives and breathes it and she is one of only a handful of people in the state with the proper licenses and documentation to save mountain lions and large predator animals. We NEED this person here in our county. She was there first and these neighbors moved in. When you purchase property, you know if there is an animal rescue site nextdoor. don't like it? DON'T BUY NEXTDOOR TO A WILDLIFE RESCUE! As a conservationist and an avid outdoor enthusiast, I applaud Julia's efforts. I've followed closely, the struggles between these neighbors and I know they have been very nasty to her. Shame.

Flicka Feb 08, 2018 05:09 PM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

BELLASMOM seems to know the lady best and obviously isn't surprised by this. Being threatened with a libel suit if you report a person for bad behavior sounds like bullying.

bellasmom Feb 08, 2018 03:02 PM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

Having known, worked and volunteered for this woman for almost 9 years I can tell you right now, bullying and making threats is part of her M.O. The problem has been that anyone who speaks up about it, gets threatened with a slander law suit for 'ruining her reputation' which she seems quite capable of doing herself. Otherwise you would have heard about her 'Pattern of Behavior' long before this. Hope the court finally puts an end to her arrogant behavior.

Fitness1 Feb 08, 2018 08:23 AM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

I find it a bit concerning that she was ordered to turn in any weapons w/i 48 hours and when she did not there was no follow up. This is how things fall thru the cracks with sometimes tragic results. Doesn't someone check on these things? And I'm speaking as a gun owner myself. If there had not been another complaint more than a month after she was issued the order, would her failure to comply ever been noticed? Her failure to follow the court's directive was a violation of the protective order. I admire the work that she does but I find this a bit troubling.

Fitness1 Feb 08, 2018 12:20 PM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

Well, CivilEngineer, I guess the system is broken. Surely in our digital age, the computer program where court records are input, could be programmed to automatically send an alert to the officer in charge of the case when a receipt for the surrendered firearms has not been scanned into the case file w/i the proscribed time period. The only reason the 2nd investigation into Ms. Di Sieno was opened (which led to this arrest) was because ANOTHER complaint was filed (after she was already under the restraining order)and then it was discovered the relinquishment had not occurred. There was no pro-active action, only a 2nd REaction, by the sheriff's dept. I don't know any of these ppl, but these systemic flaws do worry me.

Fitness1 Feb 08, 2018 12:21 PM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

Well, CivilEngineer, I guess the system is broken. Surely in our digital age, the computer program where court records are input, could be programmed to automatically send an alert to the officer in charge of the case when a receipt for the surrendered firearms has not been scanned into the case file w/i the proscribed time period. The only reason the 2nd investigation into Ms. Di Sieno was opened (which led to this arrest) was because ANOTHER complaint was filed (after she was already under the restraining order)and then it was discovered the relinquishment had not occurred. There was no pro-active action, only a 2nd REaction, by the sheriff's dept. I don't know any of these ppl, but these systemic flaws do worry me.

CivilEngineer Feb 08, 2018 10:34 AM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

That's the way the system works. That guy in Redding who tried to massacre those students never turned in his weapons even when his neighbors reported him for shooting at them to the sheriff. I guess our sheriff's department is a little more pro-active than that, especially when the case concerns an animal advocate who has never been accused of using those weapons in an illegal way. An easy target, so to speak.

YepSB Feb 07, 2018 07:29 PM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

Journalistically, the attached YouTube video should not be included in this report. It has nothing to do with incident being reported. If watched, it creates bias not based on anything to do with the arrest. (bias towards her if you are on the side of "she does good for animals" and bias against if you view it as "this women is inept in her practice", both of which could be true)

YepSB Feb 08, 2018 11:35 AM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

I'm not seeing where in that video it shows that she had been keeping coyotes on her property. Closest you could come to that would be that coyotes were in the boxes in the back of the truck in the opening seconds (IF that is her property, and that still doen't show that she was keeping them on the property). That aside, the article is reporting on her arrest for violating a criminal protective order for criminal threats and stalking. She was not arrested for keeping coyotes on her property. Even if that was the issue that lead to the protective order, the video does not show her keeping coyotes on her property and has nothing to do with the arrest. Now, in my OPINION the video makes her look like a reckless nut job and from that I find it easier to believe that she is a bad neighbor. But I may now be biased...

a-1519211207 Feb 07, 2018 10:57 PM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

It appears to show that she did in fact have coyotes on her property and was rehabilitating them outside of the permits on the property. Seems applicable to me, journalistically of course.

a-1519211207 Feb 08, 2018 07:48 AM
Wildlife Rescuer Arrested Over Feud with Neighbors

Bad neighbours can bring out the crazy in just about anyone. Still... howling coyotes next door is hard to take without some sweet talking to make them slightly more tolerable. No one can operate as an island onto themselves with total disregard for others, especially those living next door.

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